Yahoo buys IndexTools to Continue Consolidation

Seeing as I had the temerity to link to Aurélie Pols’ blog post about Yahoo’s acquisition and subsequent decision to release for free on Slashdot, I thought that I’d better write a post on it. Not least because I had a presentation today from Kate telling me that everything was about scent (ie making sure that you consider where your users come from to give them the best information on the page). What would be good on my home page when I have a load of people coming through from an a slashdot post on Yahoo buying IndexTools than a post on Yahoo buying IndexTools.

Whilst I could go on about how this is good for the public, Yahoo and IndexTools, I think I’ll take a slightly different approach and look at how it is going to impact Businesses and the web analytics industry in that order.

Firstly if you are an IndexTools client, what must you be thinking? You’ve just paid a fortune for this new tool (actually, it might be really cheap, I’m guessing, but it’ll probably seem like one) and then they’ve announced that they are going to make it free. Well actually you need to read this carefully. They are only going to make 80% of the tool free, the other stuff – the clever stuff that gives you the deep insight, that is going to still be paid for.

If you were thinking of being an IndexTools client, then this is great. It is great for two reasons. Why bother with an RFP when you can just go and get 80% of it for free, test it out then work out if you want the rest of it. You can even work out if the amount of money that you are going to pay would be worth that extra 20% or whether actually most of what you want comes from the first 80%. It depends on how much you rely on your stats for your business decisions.

If you were debating whether to pay money for a tool or just to get something free, then this is quite good as well. You can put GA or Microsoft Adcenter Analytics on your site as well as IndexTools. Then you can tell people that if they give you £x then you’ll be able to help them answer y question that they have. And it’ll be easy because you’ll have tagged your site (I’m hoping that the full version and the shareware have the same tags).

If you are going to just leave your site on a free tool then this is great too. I have my blog on Google Analytics and Microsoft AdCenter Analytics. I do this because not because I am an analyst (ok, partially because I am), but also because they give me different things. I’m hoping that Yahoo! won’t just attempt to copy Google Analytics and will try and take a different stance. There is no reason why you can’t have them all running in tandem.

If you are with an enterprise solution (and I liked Aurélie’s response to Omniture’s response to the announcement of the acquisition), it will be interesting to see what happens in the long run. Eric Peterson thinks that it may not just be 80%, but that many clients are going to get it all for free. Does this give the people who are contemplating migrating from HBX to SiteCatalyst something else to think about? Well yes it does because now there is another option. Stick with HBX until you can get a free IndexTools account, then simply decide whether to roll up to the enterprise version when your HBX contract runs out is now an option.

Omniture will claim that they don’t really go toe to toe with IndexTools. They may be right. The sites that use SiteCatalyst and HBX are probably bigger than just SMBs and the tools certainly have a greater functionality than Google Analytics or Gatineau at present. However, previously the differences in prices was between a small amount and a not quite as small amount. Now the differences is free and a not quite so small amount. Free things always seem better in the long run. Omniture really need to get a wriggle on in combining those best of qualities between SiteCatalyst and HBX to make a super product that nobody could do without.

All of it really helps bloggers. We don’t spend money on adwords or ppc campaigns (generally – I don’t make any money out of this site, so why should I spend anything other than time on it) therefore we don’t want to spend any money on analytics. Essentially we may just get better at working out what goes on with our traffic and how to build better sites and write better content because of it.

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